|The first roads constructed in territorial Arizona were the work of military surveyors and laborers. Long
segments of those wagon roads were little more than marked trails, and primitive roads.
In 1857, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale was assigned the job of building a wagon road across New Mexico and Arizona near the 35th parallel. Beale had had many years experience in the west, first with the U.S. Navy in California, then with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, and later, on government business and explorations in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and California.
Beales road roughly followed Lt. Amiel Whipples trail west across Arizona through the Flagstaff area and then headed west and a little north through Peach Springs, through the Kingman area and on to the Colorado River. Beale made several trips across the states building and improving the road between 1857 and 1860.
A few years later Lewis Kingman surveyed the route for the railroad, and the town built here to support the railroad was named in his honor. Gold and silver were discovered in the area, and mining contributed to the growth of the city in the 1880s and the 1890 census reported a population of 300 for Kingman. In 1926, U.S. Highway 66 was slated to run through Kingman, following the original wagon road, bringing many travelers through the city.
The Beale Wagon Road became a popular immigrant trail during
the 1860s and 1870s, until the coming of the transcontinental railroad across northern Arizona in the
1880s. During the twentieth century, the National Old Trails Highway, the National Park to Park
Highway, U.S. Highway 66, and Interstate 40 have all followed the general corridor of Beales road that was built for wagons. The Beale Wagon Road is still visible in many places today. Beale's road was important throughout the southwestern region of the United States.